First-half strikes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Shinji Kagawa sealed a 2-0 Bundesliga triumph for Borussia Dortmund against Eintracht Frankfurt at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Amid reports that he is close to finalising a switch to Manchester United, Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan was a high-profile omission for the hosts as he sat out the game due to a throat infection, but his absence was not keenly felt, with Aubameyang stealing the show in the first half.
After putting Dortmund ahead 24 minutes in with a delightful penalty, the Gabon forward then turned provider just after the half-hour mark, playing in Kagawa to grab their second.
Having not featured since Dortmund’s loss to Bayern Munich earlier in April, Marco Reus made his return to action after the interval, and he went close to snatching a third with what would have been his first touch.
The win lifts the hosts up into eighth – just a point behind Hoffenheim – and Jurgen Klopp will now turn his attention to the midweek DFB-Pokal semi-final against Bayern Munich as he looks to cap his final season in charge with silverware.
Dortmund, who hope to have Gundogan back fit for that game in Munich on Tuesday, made a bright start, with Matthias Ginter going close with a long-range effort.
However, Klopp’s side, also without Roman Weidenfeller due to a back problem, would have been behind after six minutes had Haris Seferovic not strayed offside before drilling a low strike into the corner.
Aubameyang should have opened the scoring 10 minutes later, but Dortmund’s top scorer headed over from close range after latching on to Jakub Blaszczykowski’s floated ball.
However, the striker was given the opportunity to atone for that miss when Blaszczykowski’s cross struck the hand of Sonny Kittel in the area – Aubameyang stepping up to dink home the resulting penalty for his 14th Bundesliga goal of the season.
Dortmund were further ahead within eight minutes, Aubameyang this time linking up with Erik Durm down the right flank before squaring to Kagawa in the box, who duly found the net.
The host’s domination continued after the restart, Aubameyang having claims for another penalty waved away after going down under pressure from Carlos Zambrano on the hour mark before Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp saved well from Kagawa.
Reus replaced Blazczykowski soon afterwards, and the Germany international would have made it 3-0 just a minute after coming on had he managed to connect with Kagawa’s cross at the back post.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan shot just wide of the left-hand upright as the game drew to a close, with Frankfurt unable to trouble a Dortmund side who secured back-to-back Bundesliga victories to continue their bid for UEFA Europa League qualification.